Lab to be upgraded for genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 variants

Minister inspects facility at Dr. MGR Medical University

An existing laboratory at the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University will be upgraded to take up genomic analysis of samples to identify newer variants of SARS-CoV-2.

On Tuesday, Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma. Subramanian, along with Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan and Vice-Chancellor of the university Sudha Seshayyan, held a meeting to explore the possibility of starting a laboratory for SARS-CoV-2 variants. The Minister also inspected a laboratory at the university.

“The university already has a nationally accredited laboratory for zika, chikungunya, leptospirosis, HIV/AIDS and dengue viruses. It has been decided to take up analysis of the Delta Plus variant. The laboratory will be upgraded soon as it is already nationally recognised and will be brought to use,” he told reporters.

Now, samples are sent to InStem in Bengaluru for whole genome sequencing, he said, adding: “Samples lifted from COVID-19 positive patients were analysed for newer variants. The government wanted to set up such a laboratory in Chennai, and we have looked at the possibilities of utilising an existing facility at the university.”

University authorities said the existing lab was approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research and was nationally accredited. The laboratory had adequate infrastructure and would be upgraded to take up genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 variants.

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